U.S. launches second phase of Ukrainian military training mission

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The Department of Defense said this week that it is now in the second phase of a mission to equip and train the Ukrainian military to patrol and secure its borders, as well as defend its territory, more effectively, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson, said.

The U.S. is spending over $265 million in equipment and training on the mission, Davis said. Congress approved the mission, dubbed Fearless Guardian, in 2014.

Davis said U.S. forces will aid in training five active-duty battalions, as well as a battalion of Ukrainian special-ops soldiers, during this second phase.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to contribute to Ukraine's long-term military reform and professionalism, and to help them improve Ukraine's internal defense capabilities and training capacity,” Davis said.

The U.S. Army is detaching approximately 300 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy. Those soldiers will participate in training Ukrainian forces. Other U.S. personnel and experts from NATO allies are helping with training efforts as well.

On top of providing combat training and equipment, the U.S. is working to develop the institutional structures of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense, Davis said.

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